Wales Just Doubled Its Recycling Rates, Here’s How America Can Do It Too

Wales Just Doubled Its Recycling Rates, Here’s How America Can Do It Too
Recycle bin

Recycle bin

Recycling is good for the planet and future generations, but the amount of household waste that is actually recycled is much lower than many individuals might expect. While recycling is growing at a slow and steady rate, it is possible to increase the percentage of recycled waste and make steadier inroads to a better future. Wales has proven that progress in recycling can occur at a fast pace.

Wales Recycling Improvements

The European Union has made ambitious goals for Europe’s recycling programs, but it is Wales that stands out among the countries for the most progress toward reaching for a brighter future. According to Good Environment, Wales has more than doubled the amount of household waste the country recycles since 2005. In 2005, Wales only recycled around 23.1 percent of waste products. This low rate has more than doubled by 2012. The rate that households are recycling has increased to 48 percent according to Good Environment.

The Guardian sheds some light on the reason for dramatic changes. According to The Guardian, Wales has implemented a waste reduction strategy that has very ambitious goals. The country hopes to recycle or reuse all waste products by 2050.

The Welsh government points out on it’s official website that the country has implemented statutory recycling targets and has a landfill allowance scheme. As a result, the country is able to meet higher recycling goals.

Problems With Recycling Rates in the United States

Public awareness of concerns related to waste has grown over the years and recycling has slowly increased, but many improvements are still necessary to reach better recycling figures. According to Good Environment, the United States recycled around 32.1 percent of household waste in 2005 and it has grown at a slow rate. In 2011, the United States only recycled 34.1 percent of household waste.

The problem is not recycling services available throughout the country. According to Enhanced Online News, the United States has 1.5 million different methods of recycling household waste. With so many recycling services, the United States should have better percentages of waste recycled.

Improvement Solutions

Improving recycling rates in the United States requires some decisive action. Current laws do not require households to recycle, which results in more waste that goes into the landfills.

Wales has provided the United States and other countries in the world with simple solutions that are now proven to show success. The United States can apply some of the methods used in Wales to improve recycling rates.

Creating laws related to recycling is a key factor in improving the percentage of household products that are ultimately reused. Wales has used ambitious targets and landfill allowances as a key part of reaching recycling goals. While the United States might not be able to implement the same laws, legal action is necessary to encourage individuals who otherwise would not recycle to start separating waste products.

The United States can also provide better services to pick up different recyclables. While the country has around 1.5 million recycling services, many areas do not have a program to pick-up the materials. In a busy society, the lack of programs to pick-up recyclables results in fewer individuals reusing certain materials.

The solutions that Wales use that might apply in the United States and ensure better recycling figures in the future are the separation of food and green waste collection, the legal limitation on waste moved to a landfill and the ambitious planning. The United States can take better collection measures and pass laws that help encourage families to reuse or recycle waste products.

Wales has proven that it is possible to recycle more household waste. By applying some of these lessons in other countries, the world can become a cleaner and healthier place for future generations.


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